Arshad Mehmood – The HOLOCAUST
Arshad Mehmood is a Pakistan based investigative Journalist/writer. He is the first Pakistani Journalist to write an introductory article about the Holocaust in his national language URDU. It was published in the largest circulated newspaper Nawa e waqt sunday edition on 15 th Jan 2017. Arshad Mehmood also translated the article into English.
Being a student of Journalism, literature and history, it is no shame for me to accept that I have been ignorant of a very important chapter of modern-day history that is known to the world as “The HOLOCAUST. After the literary review of different international media resources, it was evident to me that wherever in the world mass destruction and murderous acts are done, they are termed as a HOLOCAUST OF NEW ERA. In a very recent past, especially in Aleppo, the events are termed as a HOLOCAUST .
Being an investigative journalist, a curiosity was raised in my mind to inquire about the Holocaust. I asked about the etymology and history of Holocaust from more than thirty persons but most of them were unaware of the term. Some of them told me that they didn’t know anything except that the massacre of Jews by Hitler is called the Holocaust. It is an admitted fact that majority of Pakistanis are unaware of the history as well as the name: the Holocaust. It is an unpalatable truth that the history of the Holocaust is kept hidden in a systematic way from many in the world. The hands behind this are also still hidden. Anyhow, I am going to share with the readers what I understood through my research.
There is a bitter reality due to an organized and secret practice. This incident was kept secret from the world and future generations. That secrecy was so well maintained, that even today, much of the world is not aware of the actual facts of the Holocaust. Through my findings I found that in the Holocaust, not only Jews but non-Jews who opposed the ideological, lingual and/or political policies of Hitler and his men also became victims. It is also clear that when the Nazi Adolf Hitler and his regime came into power in Germany, they thought themselves to be superior on the basis of their genealogy. They targeted the Jews specifically, as their worst enemy.
Holocaust is derived from two Greek words, “Holo” and “Koustas” that mean “Sacrifice through Fire”. In this incident almost six million Jews including other opponents of Hitler were killed. Before 1945 it was only remembered as a practice that was done by the Greeks to please their gods. But after 1945, this same word, Holocaust, had a new and horrible meaning. As mentioned earlier, the Nazis thought themselves superior to all and not only termed Jews as low lifes but also a great threat. That is the reason, the Jews and all other opponents were tortured to death as being against the ideology of the Nazism.
The victims included Romanians, Russians, Poles, Czech Slovakians and other Communist, Socialists and lingual sects. Most of the people were killed at the concentration (detention)camps in Occupied Poland, in Gas Chambers.
In the Holocaust, from 1933 to 1945 every man other than the favored was killed brutally. In 1933, the Jews were counted above 9 million in all of Europe. Some lived in the countries that were conquered and occupied by theNazis . During this systematic massacre, the occuppied nations killed two of every three Jews in their countries up until 1945. This was done under a policy formulated by Hitler called the “Final Solution”.
It is an interesting fact that the history is still unclear as to the cause(s) for Hitler’s perception about the enmity of Jews. Even the diaries of Hitler which were found after his suicide were silent about his severe hatred for Jews. But history did witness that those who were the subjects of the racial prejudice by the Nazis included about two hundred thousand nomads of Roma. Moreover, at least two hundred thousand mentally and physically handicapped Germans were also killed in the name of a “merciful death”.
In 1940, German forces expanded the territories of Adolf Hitler’s empire by occupying Denmark, Norway, Nederland, Belgium and Luxemburg. Millions of Jews and nomad tribes of these areas were shifted to temporary Jewish villages (Ghettos) where they were used for forced labor.
Meanwhile the Germans tried to invade Russia and during this attack they wrote a new history of terrorism and brutality. During this failed invasion almost one million men and women Jews and non Jews were killed through FIRING SQUADS. For this purpose, special “Mobile Killing Units” were formed. Moreover above 2 million Russian prisoners were tortured to death or in camps where they were killed by hunger, disease due to the inhuman treatment of the invading army. From 1941 to 1944 millions of Jewish prisoners were pushed into GHETTOS where they were killed in the specifically manufactured gas chambers.
Adolf Hitler and his associates started formal work on The Final Solution in September 1941. Every Jew was marked with a yellow star to identify and to separate them from non Jews and kill them where ever they were found. In this practice, non Jews and Polish intellectuals were also killed who oppossed the policies of Hitler. Some were sent to the camps and killed there. For this purpose a death camp named “Auschwitz” was established in North Poland. First it was a political prison but was converted into Death factory by installing Gas Chambers and furnaces. The unhealthy, old people and children were killed instantly but the” healthy” young adults were made to work in different weapon factories and other hard labor institutions. A number of branches of Auschwitz were also built which contained torture cells and bath houses as well. Furnaces were built in those torture cells to burn the dead bodies. German police victimized thousands of political opponents including members of labor unions and the people with communist and socialist views.They were also forced into the GHETTOS where they worked at hard labor. Finally they too were thrown into the gas chambers.
The Germans started to shift Jews massively from Ghettos to the Concentration camps in Poland at the end of 1941. With sick, handicapped and aged persons, children were included in this mass transportation on priority basis. Poison Gas was utilized to kill the prisoners in the Belzec camp near Lublin for the first time on March 17, 1942 Near Lublin in Belzec . Other than this, there were 5 more camps for the same purpose.“Auschwitz-Birkenau” was top of the list.
Millions of Jews were forcibly moved from occupied Europe and other Ally countries of Germany during 1942 and 1945. The greatest exodus took place at the end of 1942 when three hundred thousand Jews were moved from Warsa’s Jewish-towns. Two million people were killed in Auschwitz through gas chambers. Millions of people died in those camps due to hunger as well. Besides the conquest of Hungry by Russian forces, the forced movement of Jews continued in 1944 and twelve thousand Jews were killed there on daily basis. Many people died in those camps due to hunger as well.
Late in second world war in 1945, due to internal conflicts, Hitler committed suicide and the German Army surrendered to the Allies of that time. In those last days of the Second World War S. S. Guards transferred the prisoners of the said camps to other places through rails or Death Marches (forced march on foot) so that the allied forces could not release them. During this practice two hundred and fifty thousand to three hundred and seventy five thousand people were killed. Allied forces came across many tortured besides the death marches during their attacks on the German army. Once they arrived they released the prisoners. This whole practice ended on 7th may 1945 when the German army surrendered unconditionally. That day was termed as V-E Day. Once allied forces arrived they released the people from the camps .
During 1948 to 1951 about 7000,000 Jews migrated to Israel and doubling the population. Among them about one hundred and thirty six thousand were Jews who were pulled out of Europe. In this way the era of darkness, terror and bloodletting by the Nazis ended which engulfed millions of human lives under the shadow of fear and a close mind approach towards linguistic and ideological differences. Indeed it was end of an era of violence, oppression and massacre in which human beings killed his fellow-men/women at such a very large-scale.